six degrees of danish bacon

The current issue of New Left Review has an article by Franco Moretti applying a bit of network analysis to the interactions within some pieces of literature. Here is the interaction network in Hamlet, with a tie being defined by whether the characters speak to one another. (Notice that this means that, e.g., Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not have a tie, even though they’re in the same scenes.)

The Hamlet network

And here is Hamlet without Hamlet:

Hamlet without Hamlet

I think we can safely say that he is a key figure in the network. Though the Prince may be less crucial than he thinks, as Horatio seems to be pretty well positioned, too. Lots more in the article itself.

Written by Kieran

May 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Posted in books, networks

6 Responses

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  1. ahem


    gabriel rossman

    May 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

  2. A long time ago, someone showed me a network analysis of a play. It was a Galois structure – each scene is represented by the people in the scene. And scenes are connected via overlapping casts.



    May 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  3. Ah, but it is all in follow through, young Gabriel, all in the follow through.



    May 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

  4. It strikes me that, re: Burt, Horatio should have offed Hamlet before the curtain rises. Then, he would be ideally positioned for arbitrage.



    May 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm

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